Archive for the ‘Scott Walker’ Category

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich / The Herd / Scott Walker / Dusty Springfield

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

SWEETIE BRA EP / Various Artists:

Side 1:

Listen: Introduction – Zabadak! / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Introduction

Listen: I Don’t Want Our Loving To Die / The Herd
I

Side 2:


Listen: Come Next Spring / Scott Walker
Come

Listen: My Colouring Book / Dusty Springfield
My

No, it’s not an ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS artifact, it’s the real deal SWEETIE BRA EP from the British Exquisite Form Brassiere Company in 1968.

If you’re like me, you didn’t know the record existed. I stumbled on a copy years ago, digging through boxes rather early at the Portobello Road Saturday flea market. And by rather early, I mean it was still dark. Getting there at the crack of dawn was, and still is, the only way to find the cardiac arresting level items at low prices or more probably at any price.

I was on a mission that morning, having anticipated it all for a few days leading up. We were staying at the then hopping, now closed, Pembridge Court Hotel, with a back door entrance that literally spilled out onto the starting tip of Portobello Road.

What a place that hotel was. The manager Valerie had two gentle orange cats that happily visited the room and would occasionally stay the night if allowed. Her staff delivered sandwiches with tea and cakes at any hour. It was like staying at a great aunt’s house in old time Ennland. Corinne and I were loyal guests for years, we loved it there.

So on that particular morning, I schlepped out on my own before dawn, flashlight in pocket, to mingle with the aggressive dealers in search of their next slice of income and the collectors, in search of their next fix. No idea why I even pulled the record out of this sleeve to have a look, I guess it was an exercise in being thorough. To my surprise and pleasure, four of my favorite acts were featured. This was clearly a promotional item via some sort of relationship between the bra company and Philips/Fontana Records, given that all the artists were from the company’s roster and the actual label was the Philips signature deep shade of blue.

An amusing introduction starts Side 1, then leads into ‘Zabadak!’, a December 28th landmark in my measly little existence of a life.

Long John Baldry

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Listen: When The Sun Comes Shining Thru’ / Long John Baldry
When

Long John Baldry, as with Georgie Fame and Alan Price, was another guy from the early 60′s London blues and soul club circuit. Then known as Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, he and his band can be found on numerous schedules from The Flamingo and The Marquee clubs, double billing with several similar up and coming American RnB music enthusiasts, all hell bent on reinterpreting their worshiped heroes.

Like with yesterday’s post, he too took a more commercial route as the 70′s approached, successfully achieving mainstream pop hits in England. A switch of labels in both the UK and US, as well a change in musical style and the recruitment of Tony Macaulay as producer resulted in ‘Let The Heartaches Begin’, which went to #1 in Britain during November of ’67. A year later, ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”, written by Manfred Mann’s lead vocalist Mike D’Abo, went Top 30, although neither caught much traction in America.

Around ’68, Tony Macaulay began cornering many of my favorite records, either as writer, producer and in some cases, both. Current day British pop had become his forte with Scott Walker, Pickettywitch, The Marmalade and The Foundations amongst his successes. I guess he had a sound, and quite frankly, in my world, these two were a perfect pair.

Come ’71 though, Long John Baldry had reverted back to his original boogie woogie style, as he called it. Teaming up with Elton John and Rod Stewart as producers, both struggling newcomers in the early 60′s but by then successful superstars, afforded their old friend some decent US traction. Good for John Baldry of course, but for me, the music wasn’t as much fun nor more memorable than that period anchored by Tony Macaulay and ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”.

Jackie Lee & The Raindrops / Jacky

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Listen: There Goes The Lucky One / Jackie Lee & The Raindrops
There

Stumbled on this single early on, around ’74. I’d had plenty of radio station scores by then, with no idea there’d thankfully be many, many, many more to come in life. I don’t know of a better high to be honest. Probably similar to most other addictions, you’re always craving the next fix. Well it’s moments like finding a Jackie Lee & The Raindrops single in a healthy stack of dj 7′s that’ll keep you on the drool.

By then, I’d become completely familiar with parent label fonts and layouts, so easily spotted this release as being part of the London Records group. During the 60′s, London distributed loads of small labels, and some larger ones as well, like Deram or Hi.

Anything from London was primo by me, and often meant the act was UK based, given London was indeed the American arm of British Decca. True to form, Jackie Lee, although originally from Ireland, was by then living in England. That was close enough. ‘There Goes The Lucky One’ really sounded like a mix between girl group and late fifties doo wop, plus I wrongly believed the record was from ’65 or so. As it turns out, ’62 was it’s year of release and Jaylee appears to have been a custom imprint. Jackie Lee clearly had a friend high up in the US operation. A custom label and a picture sleeve in 1962, someone worked miracles at the yearly London/Decca confab.

Jim Palmaeri, one of my pals at Discount Records where I worked at the time, fell in love with this. He’d often borrow it for weeks on end, and I became militant about it’s return continually. Despite not having heard the record for years, the chorus suddenly popped into my head, and I was singing it aloud Friday night. Then a dreadful stomach pit formed. Where was the record? I’d been playing the American Jackie Lee’s ‘Baby, Do The Philly Dog’ and ‘The Duck’ just a few nights prior, but didn’t recall seeing it. Checking verified the worst. Jackie Lee & The Raindrops weren’t there between the other Jackie Lee and Leapy Lee. Fuck.

An even greater fear then entered my mind. Did I get the single back from Jim that crucial last time he borrowed it?

Hold on, I did get it back, remembering that during a trip to SXSW in the 90′s, I stumbled on an empty picture sleeve at the record collector’s show which, for years, was part of the annual convention. Upon returning to New York, I reunited the record with it’s sleeve, but hadn’t recalled seeing it since. So the remainder of Friday evening had me wandering about slightly agitated.

Saturday morning, returning home from some early junking with a few new scores to file, I settle in front of the shelves to start alphabetizing and what do I see halfway along the wall section containing the L’s but ‘There Goes The Lucky One’. The records had separated a bit down the line from Leapy Lee to reveal the misfiled Jackie Lee & The Raindrops single. A cold sweat of adrenaline waved over me, and then I could not play this record fast enough. All in all, a happy ending.

Listen: White Horses / Jacky
White

Now I was on a roll. I needed to know more about this single, and what do I discover but this Jackie Lee is indeed the same person who recorded ‘White Horses’ for Philips in ’68, as Jacky.

I had followed it’s chart ascension at the time, quite intrigued by both song title and artist. Plus I was a sucker for anything on Philips. When ‘White Horses’ eventually reached a UK # 10, I got nuts for a copy, a US pressing of which was miraculously scored at Walt’s Records on Salina Street, in their non-hit record rack banished to the back wall of the shop.

By now, I was mowing lawns, cleaning the hallways and foyer of a small apartment building every Thursday after school, plus working weekends at the Chittenango Thruway Restaurant, meaning my visits to Walt’s weren’t limited to one 7″ purchase any longer. ‘White Horses’ came back home in a stack that included The Hollies ‘Jennifer Eccless’, Scott Walker ‘Joanna’, The Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’, Grapefruit ‘Dear Delilah’ and The Love Affair ‘Rainbow Valley’.

Remembering facts for my chemistry tests: useless. Remembering details about records: piece of cake.

Marie Knight

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Listen: Cry Me A River / Marie Knight
Cry Me A River / Marie Knight

Hey thanks Vicki Wickham, for keeping this one since the 60′s. Yes, it was part of her 45 collection that I was gifted by Saint Vicki herself last fall.

You know, I love you Vicki Wickham.

Let’s talk about Vicki Wickham. We first met in ’89, when she managed Phranc during her Island days. I remember exactly where we first shook hands: backstage at the Beacon Theater, in the the very stairway where Ahmet Ertegan took his last spill. Phranc had just hired her, and was at that time on tour with The Pogues.

I was actually meeting thee Vicki Wickham. The one that booked READY! STEADY! GO!, managed Dusty Springfield, co-wrote ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ with Simon Napier-Bell, produced Labelle. The one who not only booked the infamous Saville Theatre series, brought the Motown Review to England, worked at Track Records with The Who, Thunderclap Newman, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marsha Hunt, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, John’s Children, and yes, The Cherry Smash; but also knew Scott Walker…and Brian Jones. I was nervous and in awe. Vicki Wickham was a higher form of life.

Fast forward. Nowadays, we meet often for lunch, on 9th Ave and 44th Street at Marseilles, possibly her favorite restaurant. She always orders the asparagus omelette and eats about half. I grill her for details: RSG, The BBC during the 60′s, Rediffusion Television, Top Of The Pops not to mention every band and everybody she ever encountered. Did she visit the Immediate Records office, Deram, Philips, Fontana. What was the Ready Steady Go canteen like, did she know Tony Hall, Steve Marriott, Inez Foxx, Joe Meek, Dozy. When did she last speak with Andrew Loog Oldham, P.P. Arnold or Madeline Bell…..we cover, discuss, judge and trash tons of people. Yes, we are guilty. Needless to say, there’s never a loss for topics.

On one such occasion last year, she mentions having just found boxes of 45′s in storage, and the only one she can remember seeing in the whole bunch was the Bessie Banks ‘Go Now’ UK A label pressing. Was I interested in the lot? That’s like asking Alago, Duane, Joe and I if we’d like a free bump in the VIP bathroom at The Ritz in the 80′s. Ahh, yeah.

Vicki, you ARE a saint, and a beloved friend.

And you turned me on to Marie Knight. Praise be.

The Walker Brothers

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

walkerbrosshipuk, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
walkerbrosshipusa, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
walkerbrosshipps, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

US Picture Sleeve: Front (above) / Back (below)

walkerbrosshippsb, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

Listen: My Ship Is Coming In / The Walker Brothers
My Ship Is Coming In / The Walker Brothers

I will never forget the Friday night I walked into Two Guys Department store with my parents. As usual, I headed straight to the record department while they proceeded to do some weekly shopping. The singles were displayed all along the the tops of the album bins, each in their own metal rack holding about 25 copies. I wish I had photos.

There in brilliant full color, was the above Walker Brothers picture sleeved single, ‘My Ship Is Coming In’, a solid 25 copies freshly unboxed. I could hardly breathe. They looked fantastic in bulk. The sleeve just radiated about one hundred times more intensely than anything else in sight, like a messiah. I still get tingles looking at the cover. It brings me right back. I owned it minutes later.

I could not get home fast enough, freaking out in the dark car, holding this masterpiece but only getting to glimpse at it as we passed under traffic lights and street lamps. God knows how many times I played it that night. It was not guitar based British beat, but instead sounded like music grownups listened too. Yet clearly there was something addictive in it’s air. I decided then and there, I was going to love this record. That was that. I did then and I still do.

Years later Scott Walker would reveal that while all his contemporaries in London were modeling themselves after American blues greats, his attention was focused on becoming the next Eddie Fisher. How genius was this guy?

WalkerSunUKA, The Walker Brothers

walkerbrossunuk, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
wlakerbrossunusa, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

Listen: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) / The Walker Brothers
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore) / The Walker Brothers

The world was not ready for the followup to ‘My Ship Is Coming In’. Mine certainly wasn’t. How could The Walker Brothers possibly up the perfection of that record? Then along comes ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’, a flop a few years earlier for Franki Valli. He and The Four Seasons had loads of great records, and he’s no slouch in the vocal department. But Scott Walker he is not, no one is.

I swear, this record can still stop me in my tracks when it comes up on the ipod or BBC’s Radio 2. I heard it on the 60′s Sirius radio channel aboard a JetBlue flight recently. As diverse and truly exciting that the many other songs were, this just grabbed the prize unchallenged.

I saw Matt Pinfield the other day. He had Matt & Kim on his morning WRXP radio show, so I went along. Pinfield is the most kind hearted and passionate music fan, really knows his stuff, loves records. We worked together at Columbia and got connected at the hip. Somehow the subject of ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’ came up. Almost in unison, we both blurted out nearly identical sentences.

“This may be the greatest single of all time.”

Deservedly, it spent a month at #1 in the UK. See the three consecutive NME charts below, reprinted from 40 YEARS OF THE NME CHARTS. Despite not one US TV appearance or live show, it did get played here and had a decent chart run, peaking at #13 in BILLBOARD. It should have, at least, gone Top 10 but given the many singles that never ever charted, there’s some contentment in it’s placing.

nme4_66, 40 Years Of The NME Charts

Pulp

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Listen: Sorted For E’s & Wizz /Pulp
Sorted For E's & Wizz /Pulp

Dave Bedford from Fire Records in London became quite a good friend during my days with Island in the early 90′s, as I’d be in town for two or three week stays at a time. We had, and still do have, similar tastes in both the past and present. Logically, he and I share a vinyl addiction but more importantly, a natural chemistry about so many things. Kind of like that occasional person you meet and within hours, feel as though you’ve known your whole life.

Never did Dave make a suggestion about a band that wasn’t eye to eye with my tastes, so when he nudged me rather relentlessly about seeing Pulp in December ’91, somewhere along Portobello Road near the Rough Trade shop on Talbot, in a small pub, I was interested. Apparently, they were looking to get out of Fire and really worth checking out.

Why not? Howard was in town, so I suggested we all meet up there, see the band and have some food together. Howard brought David Field and a few friends as well. Everyone was in.

Before leaving the Island office, I asked a some of the A&R guys to join. Pulp were deemed damaged goods at that point, having gone from indie label pillar to post for several years, treading water and considered to be at a low point of no return career-wise. My invitations were met with disinterest and I’m sure a few rolled eyes once I turned away. No worries, I was planning my exit a few months down the road to start The Medicine Label. Just trying to be nice fellows.

The pub was miserably empty when Pulp went on, maybe thirty people tops. Most dwindled off after a few songs, even our posse, sans Dave Bedford, decided to go down the road for a drink and wait for us to finish having a look.

I was in awe. They seemed fantastic. Dave was right. Jarvis (one of the best radio presenters in the world at the moment btw) doing his routine, fitted out in a wide wale brown hip hugger corduroy suit replete with white belt. Literally straight out of a Scott Walker photo essay, no surprise there.

Next day in the office, I couldn’t shake the previous night’s show. They were clearly too English to try working with for US only, and the London office were sternly not interested. No one was waiting for me to walk away before rolling their eyes now. So I just drifted off rather defeated, accepting I was born in the wrong place, wrong time to do anything professional with Pulp, just needed to be content staying a fan.

Six months later, I was setting up my label through Warner Brothers in Los Angeles, and the new regime at Island UK were signing Pulp.

Good for them. For my money, the band’s first proper Island album was DIFFERENT CLASS, a picture perfect creative culmination of all their new found confidence yet not so distant hardships at being kicked about for years. DIFFERENT CLASS become a stake in music history’s timeline.

“Sorted For E’s And Wizz’, having maybe the best title ever for a song and despite being spotlighted by the mainstream press as obviously drug related, hurled itself to #2 in the UK singles chart. Not initially, which was frustrating, but eventually pressed on 7″ vinyl, the single finally graced the library shelves. Fun and funny as it is, there’s some chilling lyric bits and all too true. A desert island single. Hands down.

Listen: Disco 2000 / Pulp
Disco 2000 / Pulp

Fuck me, did this sound good compressed as hell via Radio 1′s signal and coming out of the car dashboard. Those opening chords had every shotgun seat occupant diving for the volume dial. Involuntary reaction.

Listen: Disco 2000 (7″ Mix) / Pulp
Disco 2000 (7

I seem to remember this single mix being done for the US. God knows why. I mean, the band came over and supported Blur in ’94, thereby building a nice following and deserved airplay, but of course radio…..

The Blur / Pulp tour played at New York’s Academy. Remembered this well, it was Corinne’s birthday, September 29, 1994. Seeing Pulp was a perfect present, she loved them from day one. Only problem being she wanted to do something or other straight afterwards, hence dragged my ass out just as Blur were hitting their third number. Bummer, but it was her birthday.

Listen: Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix) / Pulp
Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix) / Pulp

Nice thing about the above ‘Disco 2000 (7″ Mix)’: it gave Island an excuse to press up a jukebox single, basically the trend amongst the labels at that time. These singles were low end design, paperless label, large center hole and very limited, literally for jukeboxes.

It was coupled with ‘Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix)’, a near eight minute techno club version that made it’s way onto a rather nice promo 12″ some months earlier. The 12 was played a lot, like a real lot, in the house on the Dual stacking turntable I’d bought at the Warner Brothers Records used equipment sale for employees. $10, and still works like a charm to this day.

One of Pulp’s crowning moments was headling an all day event at Finsbury Park on July 25, 1998. It was a Saturday, I desperately wanted to get back home after a week in London, but decided it could be worth pushing my flight back by a day. Turned out being one of my better decisions in life.

LCD SoundSystem

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Listen: Movement / LCD Soundsystem LCDMovement.mp3

2004 was the year when ‘Movement’ turned some sort of corner between me and LCD. I had remembered ‘Losing My Edge’ from ’01, really loved it for a minute, but was mostly annoyed that I didn’t have the 7″. Turns out I did, as it was recently rescued from one of the never ending ‘Need To Be Filed’ boxes.

But ‘Movement’ was my first real favorite by James and his posse. Good and noisy, a bit tuneless, beautiful chaos, as The Psychedelic Furs were once described. Always did appreciate those occasional Mark E. Smith vocal moments too.

Listen: Daft Punk Is Playing At My House / LCD Soundsystem LCDDaftPunk.mp3

If ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ had been LCD Soundsystem’s debut, I’d have been worried. Well not really, but they should’ve been. As it turns out, the band were five years into their career, so the apparent novelty was absolutely tolerable. Let’s face it – the idea is good, it’s fun. I still play it often.

James Murphy gives Suicide props on stage, mentioning both Alan and Marty’s genius. Pretty accurate so far, and then he throws in a Scott Walker shout out. If the band weren’t so good live and established, I’d be suspicious of it being politically correct name checking to gain traction. My belief is it’s not. An honorable man, that James Murphy certainly appears to be, and one I’d invite over to play singles if the moment ever presented itself.

Whistling Jack Smith

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

WhistlingKaiser, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

WhistlingKaiserUSA, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman / Whistling Jack Smith WJSKaiser.mp3

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Why in the hell is he writing about Whistling Jack Smith? Do I really need to bother visiting this blog again?

Well Billy Moeller aka Whistling Jack Smith (brother of Tommy Moeller who’s band, Unit 4 +2, Billy sometimes roadied for) was on Deram. All things cool in ’67 were on Deram, even The Les Reed Orchestra and Chim Kothari were hip by association – not to mention of course The Syn, The Move, Timebox, The Eyes Of Blue, The Crocheted Doughnut Ring, Tintern Abbey, Warm Sounds, The 23rd Turnoff…you get the point. And I was only too pleased that it had become a hit (#20 Billboard) in the States. I wanted Deram to stay in business, so to me this was good. Plus it was downright fun to hear it on the radio. Harmless, laugh along, don’t be so fucking serious music – nothing like droning funeral parlour label mates Procol Harum.

So yes, I liked Whistling Jack Smith.

And they released an album as well. This was crazy fun now.

WhistlingLittleMiss, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Hey There Little Miss Mary / Whistling Jack Smith WJSMary.mp3

Next, the followup. Well a growth in sound was clearly in line if the career was to build the way Decca chairman, and apparently iron clad ruler, Sir Edward Lewis must have decided it should, given an LP was approved in short order, when hitmakers The Move or hipsters The Syn were not so fortunate. Within months of the ‘I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman’s spring/summer UK/US run, seems the public was inexplicably not following WJS’s musical moves and ‘Hey There Little Miss Mary’ was ignored by radio, press as well as said consumers – this despite regrouping the original hit making team, writers Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway with arranger Ivor Raymonde and producer extraordinaire (and he seriously did a LOT of great records) Noel Walker (not to be confused with Scott Walker of course).

Uh oh.

WhistlingJaDa, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Ja-Da / Whistling Jack Smith WJSJada.mp3

No worries. There is proven truth to the ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ theory- hence back to a hysterically fun, basic re-write of ‘I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman’. ‘Ja-Da’ so ridiculously similar, I’m surprised Cook/Greenaway didn’t chase the publishing. I’m glad I own it though, cause it is both fun and funny to play on occasion.

Again, not a blip, bubble or hint toward potential success. Sir Edward was not about to let this talent just wither on the branch.

WhistlingLarf, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Only When I Larf / Whistling Jack Smith WJSLarf.mp3

Then along comes a big break, just what the label needed and was hoping for, a 60′s version of an iPod commercial: the theme to a movie. The potential box office melter ,’Only When I Larf’.

‘Goldfinger’, ‘To Sir With Love’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ move aside.

Instead trip, stumble, fall. A flop.

The writing was on the wall. Poor Billy should have never left the steady work of moving Unit 4 +2′s gear around. Now not only was he finished, they were between third base and home too, so no going back.

Can you imagine how awesome it would be if Whistling Jack Smith’s career had been allowed grow as it deserved to. He would have been at Live Aid, whistled on ‘We Are The World’, been remixed by Moby, collaborated with super talent MIA, not to mention help global leaders talk through their issues, met the Pope and gotten to put on well deserved weight. Yes he could have been Bono, and I don’t mean Sonny.

Except for one other small detail, he never whistled once on his records, instead The Mike Sammes Singers were brought in for the recordings.

Gary Walker & The Rain

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

GaryWalkerSpooky, Gary Walker & The Rain, Polydor, United Artisits, Scott Walker, Allan Clarke, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Spooky / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerSpooky.mp3

Is it possible to record a bad version of ‘Spooky’ – especially when Scott Walker is producing, or even just in the studio sharing oxygen with you? Before The Walker Brothers crumbled at the seams and eventually broke up, drummer Gary Walker was making solo singles – the first two, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ and ‘Twinkie Lee’, both becoming UK hits and as importantly, both produced by Scott Walker.

Shortly after that official breakup, Gary Walker & The Rain began what was to be a very desirable and highly collectable band. Members included Joey Molland, who prior was a member of Immediate Records recording artists The Masterminds, and after the breakup of The Rain, Badfinger.

I saw Badfinger in those days, they supported The Moody Blues. Despite their Beatles connection and Beatles sounding singles, I went along anyways – after all, it was two UK bands in my dull hometown of Syracuse. I recall speaking to the band after their set, for some reason they were all wandering around the audience looking depressed. Maybe it was bad acid.

Had no idea then he’d been a member of both The Masterminds and Gary Walker’s band. Lucky for him or the poor guy would’ve ended up running for cover.

GaryWalkerPneumonia, Gary Walker & The Rain, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerPneumonia.mp3

An even more interesting member of the lineup was Charlie Crane – a very unsung musical hero of mine. Lead singer with The Cryin’ Shames (UK not US band), it is indeed his voice on their Joe Meek produced anthem ‘Please Stay’, posted elsewhere on this blog. Search it out just to see how incredible this guy’s voice was and additionally, what a terrific compliment it made to that particular tune.

Most likely by accident, seems every single Gary Walker & The Rain released had a connection to another worthy band or artist. In this case, they were neck in neck with The Easybeats’ version of the song, released a bit earlier on United Artists and selling a few more copies, but just a few. Great song, deserved better result regardless of the version.

GaryWalkerFrancis, Gary Walker & The Rain, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Francis / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerFrancis.mp3

This B side to ‘Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia’ was always a favorite and of great interest amongst collectors. Seems the garage fuzz fanatics find it a must. I don’t see the musical connection but do love the track.

GaryWalkerHello, Gary Walker & The Rain, Polydor, United Artisits, Scott Walker, Allan Clarke, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Hello, How Are You / Gary Walker GaryWalkerHello.mp3

From ’69 to ’75 we jump with Gary (who in the intern was a motorbike messenger delivery fellow – so the unofficial story goes). Having left his Japan-only success, The Rain, behind him now for six years, out of nowhere pops, oddly enough, another Easybeats cover, ‘Hello, How Are You’. Nice idea – I wonder in hope, can we expect ‘Friday On My Mind’ any day? Why not and what a treat that’d be.

In keeping with the aforementioned famous friends attachment, this version was produced by Allan Clarke from The Hollies. Not sure who’s playing on it. Any ideas are welcome.

The Drifters / The Walker Brothers

Monday, August 17th, 2009

drifterstheregoesuka, The Drifters, Ben E. King, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Philips, John Franz, London American

Listen: There Goes My Baby / The Drifters DriftersThere.mp3

Listen: There Goes My Baby / The Walker Brothers WalkerBrothersThereGoes.mp3

Speaking of The Drifters, as I did in my previous post, one of their Ben E. King written hits, ‘There Goes My Baby’, not only stands up on it’s own, but shows that a great song interpreted well can sometimes even get better. Hate to be politically incorrect, but my opinion is just that when it comes to The Walker Brothers version of ‘There Goes My Baby’.

Don’t misunderstand, I like both, maybe it’s just The Walker Brothers’ haircuts, my official diagnosis of having terminal Scott Walker disease or probably my admitted lack of Doo Wop appreciation. Why theirs wasn’t released as a 7″ in the UK remains a mystery to me. Those Ivor Raymonde ‘Night Of Fear’ leaning orchestral riffs just take the cake. John Franz, what were you thinking?

Billboard Magazines

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I got a fantastic email today from a reader in France, Bands Michel, who alerted me to a site whereby you can read just about every BILLBOARD from the 50′s, 60′s and onwards. These are mesmerizing. Scrolling through the weekly singles reviews whereby they predict records that will achieve Top 20, Top 60 or simply a ‘Chart’ placing alone is worth the visit. Most of the greats are in that later section, although many a ‘should have been a hit’ record features in the other two as well. Not to mention stunning full page tip sheet adds for singles by The Herd, The Who, Mary Wells, Scott Walker, Ike & Tina Turner, The Small Faces, multi artist adverts for Mercury, Okeh, Motown, Fontana, Deram, Ric Tic, Bang, Sue Records plus hundreds and hundreds more. Do yourself a favor:

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE ARCHIVE

Sunny

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

sunnydoctors, Sunny, Sue & Sunny, The Brotherhood Of Man, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Geoff Stephens, CBS

Listen: Doctor’s Orders / Sunny SunnyDoctors.mp3

Basically Sunny has loads of history. Solo artist, one half of Sue & Sunny (both of whom were also members of The Brotherhood Of Man) and background voice on many, many, many hit singles (Dusty Springfield, Elton John, The Love Affair, Lulu, Mott The Hoople, T. Rex, Tom Jones, and Joe Cocker to name but a few bigger ones). She’s probably on more records than even she can remember – let alone you or me.

Often associated with the Cook & Greenaway writer/producer team, it was their song ‘Doctor’s Order’ (co-written with Geoff Stephens, himself claim to a long list of song credits: The Applejacks, Manfred Mann, Scott Walker, Dave Berry, Frank Sinatra, The Carpenters) that became a favorite for literally months in ’74. As into rock and soul as I was in ’74, the occasional pop track would bite me hard. I was never comfortable that Sunny’s version didn’t become the US hit version, it was better and smoother than Carol Douglas’. Rest of world though, the crown went to the awesome Sunny. I want to meet her someday.

Colin Blunstone

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneMisty.mp3

I still obsess about missing the US tour by The Zombies / The Nashville Teens / The Hullaballoos. I lived in a wrong city – one the tour did not play. Long before ODESSEY & ORACLE was recorded, Colin Blunstone established his greatness in my world. The very first Zombies single, ‘She’s Not There’ tells all. Every song that ever followed was instantly recognizable because of Colin Blunstone’s other worldly voice. In hindsight, Colin was – still is – one of the greatest interpretive singers of all time. Up there with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield – name anybody and he will stand equal. If not for him, would Rod Argent’s great songs have succeeded as they did? Who else could do justice to ‘Time Of The Season’?

Mercifully, years later, Rod reconnected with the struggling Colin to spin their partnership together into a dazzling and deserved business – going as far as to reform The Zombies for ODESSEY & ORACLE in it’s entirety. Sharing some of that songwriting wealth to the voice that made it all valuable, Rod will now be allowed into heaven.

Once The Zombies dissolved, and Colin abandoned his three single career as Neil MacArthur, he was back to being Colin Blunstone. Signed to Epic in 1971, he began releasing a series of under appreciated albums. A few spawned the occasional hit in the UK but not here. His version of Tim Hardin’s ‘Misty Roses’ was issued as the US B side to ‘Caroline Goodbye’. How lucky for those owning it. Just listen.

In ’72, he toured The US. Epic made a bit of effort, and presented him at a college radio convention showcase I got to attend in Washington DC. It was stunning. No idea who was in the band, but his voice and persona alone filled the room. Magnificent.

Wonderful / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Wonderful / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneWonderful.mp3

I heard ‘Wonderful’ on BBC’s Radio 1 just before leaving England to return home after an extended London stay in ’73. It was one of the last singles I bought before boarding the plane. The 7″ version clocks in at 3:20, proving the power of editing. I think it works much better than the five minute plus album track.

Scott Walker

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Lights Of Cincinnati / Scott Walker

Lights Of Cincinnati / Scott Walker

Listen: Lights Of Cincinnati / Scott Walker ScottWalkerCincinnati.mp3

Nothing needs to be said.

The Legend Of Dave Dee

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Yes – that’s my opinion about him and his band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Legendary. I have totally avoided the passing of musicians on the blog. I prefer to keep this a bit of a fantasy flashback, about all the great things music brought into our childhoods, teenage years and lives in general, timeless in a way. But an exception is the loss of Dave Dee.

Like everyone, I’ve had many favorites through the years, always feeling, at the moment, they were irreplaceable forever – then life goes on and others move in to that top spot. But still, an absolute favorite in so many ways is Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. My soundtrack to being a kid, and an aspiration to living someplace where people could dress in wild colourful clothes, as this band did while my upstate NY peers did not.

Fontana letter 1

Fontana letter 2

I began writing their US label, Fontana and started a dialog (above) with Claranelle Morris, who would send along their photos, bios, promotional oddities and occasionally records (see more scans at end of post). A year or two later when I had her trust, she would sneak the latest releases by The Mindbenders, The Troggs, The Pretty Things and The Herd in the post to me as well. I do wish I knew her whereabouts now to say thanks a million.

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTOkay.mp3

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich sheet music

I love all of their records, but for some reason, ‘Okay’ has a sentimental thing about it. That opinion is clearly just mine, as most of their singles are wonderfully eclectic musically, and possibly more interesting, whereas ‘Okay’ is fairly straight forward singalong pop. Still it reached #4 in the UK charts doing just as well as their others. This band, if fact, during 1966, sold more records in the UK than either The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, as well between ’66-’68 chalked up more weeks in the British charts than, believe it or not, again, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Watching them do ‘Okay’ on Piccadilly Palace made my summer that year – and that’s saying a lot given it was the infamous summer of ’67! See the below clipping from the local newspaper.

piccadillydddbmt1, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, Piccadilly Palace

They only ever made two appearances on National US television: Cleveland’s Upbeat, which was shown locally in Syracuse too, (May 28, 1967) performing ‘Hold Tight’ and ‘Bend It’, and then on the above mentioned, nationally syndicated Piccadilly Palace (August 26, 1967) doing ‘Okay’ and ‘If I Were A Carpenter’.

Bend It (Original Censored Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Bend It (Original Censored Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUKVersion.mp3

Bend It (Clean US Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Bend It (Clean US Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUS.mp3

A last ditch attempt was made by US Fontana to find a way for ‘Bend It’, a worldwide smash, to be heard in America. So they had Dave go in and re-vocal it, taking out a few suggestive lyrics – which clearly were about sex, and changing some words into an implied dance routine, ‘The Bend’. The single was re-serviced with a dance instruction sheet (see scan below). Unfortunately, they couldn’t change the important line “when night’s ending, we’ll be bending” and hence a failed experiment.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend Dance Letter

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend Dance Instructions

To think nowadays the original would be on Disney Radio right next to Lil Kim, no problem. For the real fussy collector, you can tell the rare ‘dirty’ version from the ‘clean’: the ‘dirty’ leaves out the comma between Dozy Beaky on the label as opposed to the ‘clean’, whereby the punctuation is correct ie: Dozy, Beaky. Luckily, this was a hit in the northeast, including my hometown Syracuse, where it went #1 on the WOLF chart. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy from that particular week’s survey, but do have one from two weeks prior (see scan below). Anyone with a copy – name your price.

Wolf Chart 12-10-66

In the late 80′s, I made friends with Safta Jaffery, an English manager who looked after (still does) some prominent producers. He came to see me at Elektra, we got to talking and I discovered he knew Dave Dee. My excitement was obvious, so he graciously said “Next UK trip, give me a heads up and I’ll get you an introduction”. He went a few steps further, arranging a lunch. I trembled waiting for Dave in the lobby of the studio that housed his office. I’m pretty sure it was Mickie Most’s RAK. Although I arrived on time, to the minute, he finally came barreling down the circular staircase about half an hour late (the longest half hour of my life), all smiles and very apologetic. As we walked to the restaurant, he said he’d been tied up on the phone with a musician friend who needed some advice. I asked who, being rather casually curious. “Scott Walker” he replies. Holy shit. I almost passed out. Walking down a London street with Dave Dee as he spoke nonchalantly about a Scott Walker telephone conversation he’s just had. I wasn’t ready.

We spent a good hour together, talking non stop about the 60′s, answering all kinds of questions, just the nicest, most courteous guy. Of course he was only too happy to fill out a jukebox tab for me too:

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Okay jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Dave Dee

Today is a sad one, that I won’t ever forget.

The Guardian Obituary:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jan/09/dave-dee-obituary

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 1

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 2

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 3

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 4

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 5

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 6

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 7

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 8

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 9

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US press photo

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan club application

The Seeds

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

A Thousand Shadows / The Seeds

Listen: A Thousand Shadows/ The Seeds
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I often find myself referring to records as night time or winter. Chris Blackwell once said of Marianne Faithfull, “She’s very much a wintertime artist”, making me quite happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who thought that way. Probably stems from, particularly in the case of night time, when I’d hear the actual music the most, or at least initially.

With The Seeds, I have confidence I never heard them during the day, not once, when they were current. In the northeast, they only were played at night, when the playlists loosened up a bit. Funny, given that on the west coast, like Love and X, they were pretty much mainstream which came with being local. Those singles by The Seeds are just imprinted as night time records for me, and I like that. They have a darkness and mystery to them, every last one. All a bit menacing, due to the eerie keyboards mostly. Sky Saxon is one of a kind too, you just never mistake his voice. When ‘A Thousand Shadows’ was released in summer ’67, it coincided with my first ever radio show, Friday nights from 6 – 8 pm on the very small, very local AM station WMCR. I had successfully been blagging records off them for about two years at that point.

I lied. Told them I was from the local Children’s Hospital and seeking donations of their unplayed teen records, as their format was adult contemporary at the time. And I mean very adult, your parent’s music if you will: Mel Torme, Steve Lawrence, Eddie Fisher. We turned our nose at this stuff, but would go home and freak out to Scott Walker. In hindsight, it was pretty much the same sound but with a much better haircut admittedly. Mark Warner, then evening DJ while home from college for the summer, got me the job, I think, once he went back to school in the fall. His parents owned the station. They knew all along the donation drill was a scam, but figured they weren’t using the records anyways, and Mark’s Mom coined me that clever little boy that loves his music. That was the last time I ever heard that one, but bless her. I got a radio show out of it instead of being ratted on. Mind you, it only lasted a few weeks into the school year.

About seven years ago, December ’01 to be exact, when I went home to visit my Mom and Dad, I just drove by for the heck of it and decided to ring the bell. It was Christmas Eve, lo and behold, Mrs. Warner was there and still in charge! She was so sweet, welcomed me right inside. The place was pretty much the same, still had the two Gates turntables in the control room. She even took me downstairs to see what was left of the record library. “If you see something you really want now, I’m sure it won’t be missed”. All these years later, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

The Seeds were the first band I played, ever, on the radio. The theme of the show was to pretty much stick with the latest sounds from England, so how The Seeds got the first spin…but they did.

The Stone Roses

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses

Listen: She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses SheBangsTheDrums.mp3

I remember seeing The Stone Roses in the smallest place, somewhere along Portobello Road. Damn if I can remember the name, but it was definitely a pub. I saw Pulp there a year or so later, playing to about 30 people. Jarvis had his best Scott Walker outfit on: brown wide courds, hip huggers, complete with a thick white belt and matching jacket. Everyone I was with turned their noses up and met me down the way instead of watching. Duh. The Stone Roses though had a mob scene going on their night – must have been around ‘91-ish. I never thought they looked amazing. There was just something clutsy about their stage language. Ian Brown couldn’t really sing of course. Still, this one did sound great live. That I vividly recall. I’m right back to the moment every time I hear it. It’s one of the defining songs of that period (another is The Charlatans ‘Sproston Green’), although everyone sights ‘Fool’s Gold’ as The Stone Roses’ seminal track. I disagree.